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Hong Kong’s COVID outbreak is out of control. Should you worry?

Hong Kong’s COVID outbreak is spiraling out of control

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Dozens of samples from Hong Kong.

Dozens of samples from Hong Kong residents to be tested for the coronavirus sit in order at an inflatable mobile testing lab in Hong Kong Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

Associated Press

Hong Kong has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the developed world right now.

Details: Hong Kong is in the midst of an omicron variant outbreak, which has crippled hospitals and shut down restaurants and businesses throughout the city.

  • Per The New York Times, anxiety has grown among people in the city, who are worried about potential lockdowns, quarantine and other measures to combat COVID-19.

Context: Hong Kong long championed the idea of “zero COVID,” which aimed to eliminate all cases through testing and quarantine, according to The Washington Post.

  • This is similar to China’s plan to combat COVID-19 with “strict social distancing, mass testing, lockdowns and largely closed borders have been effective at preventing the coronavirus from overwhelming the hospital system,” The Washington Post reports.

By the numbers: Close to 2,300 people have died during the city’s most recent COVID-19 outbreak, per The Washington Post.

  • For comparison, 213 people have died from COVID-19 in Hong Kong since the pandemic began.

What’s happening: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said there was “no specific time frame” for citywide COVID-19 testing due to the outbreak, per ABC News.

  • “Now the situation is that planning and preparation are still underway, but it is not a priority to do (mass testing). When to do it will be a collective decision, and will take into account the opinions of experts,” said Lam.
  • “If we are going to do it properly, we have to tell people that until you’ve got a negative result, you can’t go out and about.”